Biodiesel jet makes first flight

By Michael Shirek | October 16, 2007
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Web exclusive posted Oct. 23, 2007, at 3:12 p.m. CDT

Green Flight International and Biodiesel Solutions teamed up for an aviation first in early October with the completion of an experimental test flight in an L-29 aircraft powered by B100. The plane, made in the former Czechoslovakia, was piloted by Carol Sugars and Douglas Rodante from Reno-Stead Airport in Reno, Nev., on a test flight that experimented with mixtures of jet fuel and biodiesel. As the flight progressed, the blend of biodiesel increased until the jet was burning B100.

"As we gradually increased the amount of biodiesel in the fuel blend, the data confirmed that the aircraft continued to perform well, giving me the confidence to transition to 100 percent biodiesel," said Sugars, who acted as chief pilot on the flight. According to a Green Flight International news release, the aircraft reached an altitude of 17,000 with no significant difference in performance compared to jet fuel.

"This test program between Green Flight International and Biodiesel Solutions was a unique and exciting opportunity to show what can be done in renewable fuels," said Biodiesel Solutions President Rudi Wiedemann. "The very idea of using 100 percent biodiesel to fly a jet aircraft makes a compelling statement about the possibilities for the future of renewable energy and a healthier planet."

Global Flight International was founded in 2006 by Rodante to serve as a platform for future development in the use of renewable fuels in aviation and other sectors. Global Flight International said it expects to announce another record-breaking event in the near future.

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